GERMAN GP - FRIDAY - PRACTICE SESSION 2 REPORT

Michael on top

Michael Schumacher, German GP 2004

Michael Schumacher, German GP 2004 

 © The Cahier Archive

The two Friday testing sessions for the German Grand Prix resulted in the fastest time for local hero Michael Schumacher, his 1m15.001s lap being a tenth faster than Juan Pablo Montoya's 2003 pole position. In the morning however BAR's third driver Anthony Davidson led the way with a lap which was a tenth quicker than Schumacher's best up to that point. The morning session had little drama although there was a red flag after Timo Glock lost the front wing of his Jordan after running heavily over a kerb and off the track.

In the afternoon there were a number of drivers spinning although David Coulthard was the king of incidents with a total of two spins and two offs in his McLaren. Also having a spin was Williams's new boy Antonio Pizzonia although the Brazilian then went second fastest. When Juan Pablo Montoya tried to match the time he went off, getting all four wheels on to the dirt as he pushed the car to the limit. Montoya did eventually beat Pizzonia's time while Michael Schumacher was pushing really hard as well. Another of the fast men, Jenson Button, stopped in the final moments of the session.

The order at the end of the session was Schumacher, a few hundredths ahead of Kimi Raikkonen with Montoya a fraction behind him. Also in the 1m15s were Button, Pizzonia, Davidson, Takuma Sato, Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello all of whom were within a second of pole position. Behind them came Ricardo Zonta, Coulthard, Bjorn Wirdheim, Mark Webber, Jarno Trulli and Christian Klien.


Ferrari

Michael Schumacher (1st, 1:15.001): "Friday in Hockenheim has been quite pleasant. We worked well on the car and had clean runs, helped by the fact that right from the start of this morning's session, we had a good baseline in terms of car set-up. I am quite happy with the overall situation. I think today was a good preparation for tomorrow and Sunday's race, which I am looking forward to."

Rubens Barrichello (9th, 1:15.738): "It was a tough day for me with a few problems - even the radio was not working for a while! We now have to look at the set-up of the car and I am confident that after working tonight with my engineers, we will have a much better day tomorrow."

Jean Todt, Team Principal: "The heat was an important factor today and as usual, the team worked on the comparison between the two types of tyre at our disposal. From what we can see, yet again, Bridgestone has done an excellent job, as has Shell, who have supplied us with a new fuel for this race, which ensures we can get more power out of the engine. Germany is Ferrari's second biggest market after the United States and this morning, I had the opportunity to visit Ferrari Deutschland's headquarters in Wiesbaden."

Ross Brawn, Technical Director: "Tyres are definitely going to be the key factor over the course of this weekend. The track temperature was very high today and we already have a strong indication of which type of tyre we want to race with here. Michael made good progress with his car while Rubens was not quite so happy, particularly on the braking side, so we have some work to do tonight. However, it is pleasing to see that we look competitive in these hot conditions."

Williams-BMW

Juan Pablo Montoya (3rd, 1:15.167): "It was a good day. I had some small problems in the morning but the afternoon session was a lot better. The car was much more stable than usual but I made a mistake when I went out on my first set of new tyres and I could not take advantage of them. We managed to do a couple of good long runs so I believe we are looking pretty good for the rest of the weekend."

Antonio Pizzonia (5th, 1:15.470): "We had two productive sessions today. As it was the first time I've driven at Hockenheim in a Formula One car, I spent most of the time getting to know the secrets of the track, and how the FW26 behaves around this circuit. When I raced here in F3000 I really liked the circuit and once I finished in first - on the old circuit, which is a good omen. We will have to wait and see what qualifying will bring tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to a good session. It's good to be racing again and I must say thanks to the team for having offered me this great opportunity."

Sam Michael, Technical Director: "We have had a productive first day with both drivers working through our normal race setup and tyre evaluations, neither driver suffered mechanical problems. Normally it is difficult to change race drivers but Antonio has adapted quickly and did a good job on his first day. Once again, we have brought some new aerodynamic and suspension parts to this race and they are working well here."

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "We have had two good sessions today, with Juan and Antonio running through their setup programme as scheduled. Antonio got along well with the car from his very first lap here. Friday's lap times do not mean much usually, but I have to say it looks like four to five teams are very close together here."

McLaren-Mercedes

Kimi Raikkonen (2nd, 1:15.045): "We completed our planned programme and are pretty happy with how things went. The car is okay and I think we are confident with our tyre choice. It's hot but you don't really feel it when you are in the car. We now have to wait until tomorrow's qualifying and Sunday's race, but so far so good and based on today I think we should be in with a good chance for a very competitive result."

David Coulthard (11th, 1:16.265): "During the second practice session I had two high speed spins under braking at turn two which upset our programme a little bit. Whilst the balance of the car is not where I want it to be, my primary goal today was to make the right tyre choice. Tomorrow I will concentrate on the car which I'm sure we will improve throughout the day."

Ron Dennis, Team Principal: "As our tyre choice has now been made, we will now concentrate on optimising the set-up on both cars. Clearly we have pace but we will not know how much until Sunday's race."

Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "A good start to our home Grand Prix weekend. Kimi was quick and consistent, but on a Friday it's too early to evaluate where we actually are compared to the competition. David is still looking to improve his set-up, which is not what it should be. I'm sure he will be better equipped tomorrow."

Renault

Fernando Alonso (8th, 1:15.677):

Jarno Trulli (14th, 1:16.660):

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "At a circuit such as Hockenheim, tyre selection demands our full concentration on Friday, and we completed a disciplined programme in order to compare our prime and option tyres. Fortunately, the weather stayed dry and this allowed us to collect a useful amount of information. We are still lacking some grip, and although both drivers' complained of understeer and overtseer at various points during the day, I think this can probably be attributed to the variations in tyre performance and condition. Overall, we are happy with our day, and Fernando's time in the second session puts us among our usual competitors."

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager: "We competed a full programme with each car today, studying a number of different parameters during the two sessions. We did not encounter any technical problems and concentrated on adapting the engine to this circuit. Our work has taught us a lot about optimising our use of the new specification engine, and we suffered no dramas with it. However, our development work has concentrated primarily on race performance, and times in Friday practice do not necessarily give a true indication of our potential."

BAR-Honda

Jenson Button (4th, 1:15.379): "We had a good morning, so it is very disappointing that I will lose 10 places on the grid as a result of my engine change. The programme ran according to plan and the car was very consistent, but it will be difficult and very competitive in qualifying tomorrow so we have a great deal of work to do now. The tyres worked well and were consistent during the long runs, which is good news for the race. I will obviously be targeting a points finish on Sunday but the task has been made a lot more difficult."

Anthony Davidson (6th, 1:15.576): "Generally it's been a reasonably good day for me. I stopped the car on the circuit this morning after we identified a potential gearbox problem, which was a great shame considering the progress we were making. I was very pleased to finish first in the first session and disappointed to end this afternoon's session early. I think we have seen some encouraging signs for the weekend ahead and the car is looking competitive but it is obviously very frustrating that Jenson will have to lose 10 places. I'm sure that he has a strong enough car to put up a good fight though."

Takuma Sato (7th, 1:15.657): "We have had a good day today and the car looks very consistent on long runs. We should be quite a bit stronger here than we have been in the last few races and I hope we can get back to the sort of form we had in Indy and return to the podium. The package we have here is better and I am looking forward to setting up the car for tomorrow and the race."

David Richards, Team Principal: "We started the weekend on an extremely positive note with the announcement of the long-term extension to our partnership with Honda. This is excellent news for the team and it gives us the stability we need to pursue our common objective of winning the world championship. After such an encouraging start to today it is disappointing that we have encountered such frustrations on-track and Jenson will lose ten places on the grid as a consequence of his engine problem."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director: "The car has been working well and we have been competitive throughout the sessions. Despite completing our full running plans today, Anthony had a gearbox problem at the end of the first session and Jenson suffered an engine problem at the end of the second session. Anthony stopped the car out on track as soon as he felt the problem and we will be making some changes tomorrow to avoid a repeat of this problem. Unfortunately we will have to change Jenson's engine which will clearly penalise his chances in Sunday's race. Judging by the closeness of many teams today, this weekend will be very challenging for us."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda Engineering Director: "Unfortunately we have identified a problem with Jenson's engine which means that we will have to change it tonight. However, the pace of all three drivers has been quite good today and we have managed to complete over 70 laps, so I hope he will be able to fight for some points on Sunday."

Sauber-Petronas

Felipe Massa (16th, 1:16.865): "It was a good day for me. We focused on long runs and my first impression is that things are better than I expected. The tyre choice is not straightforward, but our race pace today was good. Qualifying, however, will be difficult for us."

Giancarlo Fisichella (17th, 1:17.026): "The balance of the car was still not good this afternoon. I had oversteer going into the hairpin which turned to understeer at the midpoint. It wasn't so bad in the higher-speed corners, but we still have work to do to improve things."

Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We concentrated on race set-up work today and I believe that we are now well prepared. We have a lot of data to analyse before we make our tyre selection this evening, and tomorrow morning we will focus on honing the car for qualifying."

Jaguar-Cosworth

Bjorn Wirdheim (12th, 1:16.342): "Friday is my only opportunity to get out on track and perform so I was slightly frustrated this morning when I had a problem with the brake ducts. The team made some changes but I missed out on some running. I made up for it in the second session and completed 28 laps with a 12th fastest lap time. The R5 is feeling good around here and I am keen to see the team do well in qualifying tomorrow and in the race on Sunday."

Mark Webber (13th, 1:16.514): "I did my installation lap this morning and was due to go out at the end of the first session when the team took the decision to change my brake ducts. They had found a problem on Christian and Bjorn's car and to ensure that they did not cause me any difficulties they changed them too. I had a good second session this afternoon and managed to complete 27 laps working through a fairly comprehensive programme. We will be concentrating now on our balance and some further tyre work ahead of tomorrow's qualifying."

Christian Klien (15th, 1:16.854): "My session was cut short this morning as the team changed my brake ducts but I am happy to say that they turned things around pretty quickly and I was back out on track for the second session. The track is quite green out there but the car is feeling good. My programme in the second session was very busy as I was making up for lost time. We did manage to complete our test items though and I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel for qualifying tomorrow."

Mark Gillan, Head of Vehicle Performance: "We spent much of today working on balance and set-up but unfortunately our time on track was less than expected when both Christian and Bjorn suffered a problem with their brake ducts and we needed to change them. The team in the garage worked very quickly and efficiently, allowing all three drivers to be out on track for the second session. The balance on the car around here was reasonable given how green the track was. All three drivers, Mark, Christian and Bjorn did a good job today and we will now all be focusing on tomorrow and working specifically on tyre and balance set-up."

Toyota

Ricardo Zonta (10th, 1:16.200): "It was quite a good day with a lot of valuable laps completed. We found a good balance on the car almost immediately and then we did a series of long runs to evaluate the two different tyre compounds. In the end, we found some encouraging results for the race. Although, I was driving the standard TF104 today, the data we have obtained will still be useful for the TF104Bs because the overall behaviour of the tyres is the same. With the additional downforce on the new car, the performance of old tyres will be more consistent, and the time benefit on new Michelins should be greater."

Cristiano da Matta (18th, 1:17.300): "We opted to do our tyre comparison work in the first of today's practice sessions, before turning our attention to setting up the new TF104B car. As a result of this, we did not do any runs on new tyres in the second session, so the times are unrepresentative. Most of the updated aerodynamic parts have only been run for the first time today, so it is difficult to gauge our real performance. As the weekend progresses, we will obtain a much clearer indication of where we stand, but there is still a lot to be done tomorrow morning."

Olivier Panis (19th, 1:17.419): "We had two difficult practice sessions today because it was the first time the new TF104B car has run in its full configuration. We have had to use today as more of a test session to work on the set-up and to try all the new parts. It is hard to condense everything we have to do into just two hours. Having said that, we have acquired a lot of data, which we have to analyse overnight and work hard for a better day tomorrow."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "With both race drivers, we opted to do our tyre comparison in the first session, which meant that we only ran on old tyres in the second practice. We should not read too much into the time differences between the TF104 and TF104B. We used the second hour effectively as a test session to improve the balance of the car and to improve the new aero package. We made good progress. Ricardo, meanwhile, carried out his normal programme of tyre evaluation in both sessions so we have concentrated on ensuring we are in as good shape as possible for tomorrow. That will be when we really see how competitive the updated car is."

Jordan-Ford

Timo Glock (20th, 1:17.724): "In the first practice session we had problems with locking and too much understeer but we worked hard to find a slightly better compromise for the braking system which made things better. During the morning I damaged the front wing touching the kerb at the first corner, my mistake, and we lost a little bit of time as a result while the team repaired the car. My timed lap at the end wasn't too bad but minutes before the morning session finished I had a problem with the anti-stall system and the car stopped. The car was fairly good in the second session but then I damaged the front wing again. After that I was able to do some long runs which were quite good and I think we have found a good tyre. On the last run I think I could have gone three tenths faster if it hadn't been for traffic in the first sector."

Giorgio Pantano (21st, 1:17.869): "This morning we had problems with rear locking but by the time the session ended we had understood what to do and changed something on the rear and on the brake side. In the second session the car improved quite a bit and I think we can probably get even better on the lap time."

Nick Heidfeld (24th, 1:18.243): "After a reasonable start to the first session with some good adjustments to the car, unfortunately the changes we made for the second session didn't improve it. We tried to come back on some of those things towards the end of the afternoon and I did a fairly long run to get some information for the tyres. I'm sure that we can progress in time for tomorrow."

James Robinson, Director of Race and Test Engineering: "We progressed through our usual free practice programme today working closely with Bridgestone who have worked very hard to bring a new tyre for us in Hockenheim. We were looking to get some distance on those tyres and get through important set-up work. We now need to see if the rain will come tomorrow and how we will deal with this for qualifying."

Minardi-Cosworth

Zsolt Baumgartner (22nd, 1:18.098): "It wasn't too bad a day. We found a good balance for the car, although we need to work on it just a bit more tomorrow. I'm very happy that we were able to run both sessions without any problems and particularly want to thank the guys for all their hard work in this heat. I'm now looking forward to tomorrow and hoping to be able to perform to a similar level."

Bas Leinders (23rd, 1:18.224): "We tested a few small things today to improve the balance of the car. We lost a little time in the morning while an electronics matter was dealt with, but we were able to make the time up by the end of the session. In the afternoon, we started out with an oversteer problem, which we solved, but then we created another problem that couldn't be adjusted out before the end of the session. We were also losing some time on the straight in the afternoon. Generally, though, I'm pleased with the lap time we achieved at the end, as it shows I can be on the pace of Gimmi and Zsolt."

Gianmaria Bruni (25th, 1:18.309): "It turned out okay in the end. I had a problem on my first run, so I set my quickest lap of the day during my second run this afternoon. The guys found a hydraulic problem in the last few laps of the second session, and it seems it was that which caused me some difficulty in downshifting. Apart from those small things, though, it has been a good day and we were able to make a good tyre choice. We'll see how we go tomorrow."

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal: "Today saw all three Minardi drivers compete their full technical programme in preparation for Sunday's German GP. The times were very respectable and it's always pleasing to see us in among the Jordans."

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